Los Angeles, along with several other densely-populated California communities, have been facing a housing crisis, particularly due to lack of affordable rental units. Over 1,000 rent controlled units were removed from the Los Angeles market in 2015, displacing thousands of residents. In response to the crisis, Mayor Eric Garcetti, along with the Los Angeles Housing and Community Development Department (HCIDLA), has launched a new campaign called, “Home for Renters,” to help renters better understand their rights as tenants.
Los Angeles County has the highest rate of renters in the nation; roughly 52% of Angelenos rent their homes. But L.A. is also one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S., ranking 7th in the country (behind 4 other California cities). On average, a 1-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles costs $1,970, and a 2-bedroom is around $2,900.
Many of the units for rent in Los Angeles are protected by rent control. Multifamily units built before October 1978 are rent controlled, as well as some units built after 2006. Rent control does not apply to single-family homes on their own parcel of land. The Rent Stabilization Ordinance was added in 1979 to designate the legal reasons for eviction, the types of evictions that require relocation fees, and the limits to yearly rental increases. Under the rent control laws, landlords can only raise rents for existing tenants by 3% each year, but rental rates can be set at the market rate after a tenant moves out. Finally, in 1985, the Ellis Act was adopted which allows landlords to evict tenants in order to remove the rental property from the market or to demolish the property and build more apartments.
There are currently somewhere around 624,000 rent controlled units in Los Angeles. Nearly 75% of apartments are rent controlled. But there are nearly 10 million people in Los Angeles, and 52% of them are renters!
Local activists claim landlords are removing viable affordable housing units from the market to either construct high-priced units or receive higher rates from short-term rental sites like AirBnB. The effort by the Mayor and HCIDLA is to educate tenants and landlords about their rights in hopes of avoiding unjust evictions and maintaining community integrity.
“The rent stabilization ordinance is the most powerful tool we have to keep families and neighborhoods together in a tight housing market. As we work to build new affordable housing, we also must make sure that residents know about the protections we already have in place,” Mayor Eric Garcetti
To find out if you apartment is covered, call HCIDLA at 866-577-7368.